Pharmacology of Synaptic Disease

Scientific Activity

The laboratory of Pharmacology of Synaptic Diseases is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity in normal and pathological conditions. We are currently pursuing the following projects:

From brain function
to molecular players


1. New strategies for delivery of neurotrophins in Alzheimer’s disease Despite the many advantages of neurotrophic factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, several limitations might impede their diffusion across the blood brain barrier when delivered systemically. Therefore, the search for alternatives route of administration is of utmost importance in the field of AD therapeutics.

In this context, we plan to:

i) to produce in vivo tissue engineering by combining multiple neurotrophic factors with injectable scaffolds;

ii) to evaluate the effectiveness of this therapeutic approach in lowering Aß, tau hyperphosphorylation, synaptophysin and

iii) to assess whether this novel approach promotes functional synaptic plasticity and restores cognitive impairment in a transgenic mouse model of AD.


2. Role of Asic-sensing ion channel 1 in pathological synaptic plasticity

Our group has recently investigated synaptic plasticity in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice. We have demonstrated that in the acute phase of disease, elevated IL-1ß signaling drives impairment of GABAergic transmission coupled with aberrant hippocampal plasticity. Because IL-1ß modulates ASIC expression, we hypothesize that ASIC channels alterations might contribute to changes in synaptic functioning. Our focus is to investigate the effect of ASIC1 pharmacological manipulation on hippocampal plasticity, transmission and memory in EAE mice.